In the beginning, there were the BMW 3 Series sedan and coupe models; and, for a very long time, they were good. Then, just last year, BMW split the coupe into its own 4 Series designation -- an odd choice, I thought, but one I accepted.
But I couldn't accept it earlier this year when the Bavarians announced a new 4 Series sedan. I thought, "Wait, isn't the 3 Series already the 4 sedan?" Things were getting confusing in BMW's lineup and I didn't like it. And then the 2015 BMW 428i Gran Coupe arrived in the Car Tech garage and BMW made a believer out of me.
More than just a wider opening, the enlarged storage area also accepts bulkier items than the sedan would. Remove a small dividing panel and fold flat the rear seats and there's room behind the driver for an adult's bicycle, a small christmas tree, or a few pieces of flat-packed Swedish furniture.
No, the Gran Coupe is still not as spacious as the 3 Series Sports Wagon (my personal favorite 3'er variant) or the 3 Series Gran Turismo (my least favorite), but it also doesn't look like a station wagon, which many drivers may appreciate.
The Gran Coupe has the bonus of retaining the privacy and appearance of a conventional trunk when the hatch is closed and the seats are upright.
"The new 4 Series Gran Coupe starts to seem like a big ol' bag of compromises when compared with the good ol' 3 Sedan." That's what I said earlier this year when the 2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Couped ebuted at the Geneva auto show, because, at first glance, the Gran Coupe looks a lot like a redundancy in BMW's lineup. However, the benefits and additional utility of the liftback design far outweighs the small compromises pointed out.
This new mashup turns out to be an excellent and interesting blend of form-factors that may not appeal to all, but which I prefer over the standard sedan